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Brain Activity, Response to Food Cues Differ in Severely Obese Women, Study Shows

(UT Southwestern Medical Center) The brain's reward centers in severely obese women continue to respond to food cues even after they've eaten and are no longer hungry, in contrast to their lean counterparts, according to a recent study...
The study ... compared attitudes and the brain activity of 15 severely obese women (those with a body mass index greater than 35) and 15 lean women (those with a BMI under 25).
MRI images of the study participants were taken before and after a meal. Both groups showed significantly increased activity in the neo- and limbic cortices and midbrain when they were hungry. After eating, however, that brain activity dropped among lean participants while continuing in their obese counterparts.
Even after eating and reporting they were full, the severely obese women continued to react to pictures of food in much the same way they had when fasting, as exhibited in brain scans.
"Before or after the meal, they're just as excited about eating," said Dr. Nancy Puzziferri, Assistant Professor of Surgery at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. "It seems they have an instinctive drive to keep eating."
Community: That’s me! I’m not obese (just barely), but that’s me.
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